Dr. David Vail

Interim Graduate Program Chair, Associate Professor

Office: COPH 103G   |    Phone: (308) 865-8403   |    Email: vaildd@unk.edu

David Vail

Specialization Areas

Environmental and Agricultural History, Science & Technology, Great Plains


David Vail is an associate professor of history at UNK. He grew up in Southern Oregon's Rogue Valley and spent much of his youth exploring the state's mountains and wilderness areas. He holds a BA from Southern Oregon University, an MA from Utah State University, and a PhD  from Kansas State University. Dr. Vail’s specializations include Environmental and Agricultural History, Science and Technology, the Great Plains, and Public History. He has published articles in academic journals such as Kansas History, Endeavour (History of Science), Middle West ReviewGreat Plains Quarterly, and Great Plains Research. Dr. Vail’s book, Chemical Lands: Pesticides, Aerial Spraying, and Health in North America's Grasslands Since 1945(University of Alabama Press, 2018) is an environmental-agricultural-technological history of aerial pesticide application, agricultural science and food production in North America’s grasslands. His second book,Interpreting Environment at Museums and Historic Sites (Rowman and Littlefield, 2019), offers a multi-disciplinary approach to research environmental history, document evidence of human influence on land and the environment over time, and tailor that knowledge to new public engagement.

Professional Website

History Courses

  • HIST 848: "History of National Parks"
  • HIST 848: "The Age of Eisenhower"
  • HIST 848: "Environmental History"
  • HIST 848: "Science and Technology"
  • HIST 848: "The Great Depression "
  • HIST 898: "Warfare and the Environment in the 20th Century"
  • HIST 848: "Agricultural History" 
  • HIST 251: "American History: 1865-present"
  • HIST 250: "American History: 1492-1865"
  • HIST 110: "History of Science and Medicine"

Public History Courses

  • HIST 848: "Public History"
  • HIST 848: "Special Collections and Archives"
  • HIST 848: "Heritage Tourism"
  • HIST 848: "Oral History"